Rick Springfield

To the Review….

It was supposed to just be a Rick Springfield evening. I would go to his concert on Friday night, write the review, maybe listen to “Karma” (his latest CD) again, and be done with it. But the whole weekend I couldn’t get away from him. Saturday comes, I’m at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (hey, no jokes, I needed some supplies for the dude-pad) when over the speakers I hear “Prayer,” one of the songs from “Karma,” as part of the piped-in music. “Hmm, that’s a little coincidental, don’t you think?” I thought to myself. But I let it go. Then, that evening, I’m channel surfing and stumble across “Martial Law.” That’s not special, but I rarely channel surf to the local stations on a Saturday night because there’s usually nothing I like on. Then I notice something and mumble to myself “That’s Rick Springfield. He’s getting hand-cuffed to a tree!” I was beginning to have Rick Springfield overload. He was everywhere. Thank goodness Saturday was over. No more Rick Springfield! But then Sunday came. I’m watching VH-1, it’s “The List,” they’re listing best bands of the 70’s, and there he was, again, Rick Springfield. I was beginning to go out of my mind and figured I had better write this review soon because if I didn’t I might have pages and pages of Rick Springfield experiences instead of just a concert review. So let’s get to it before somehow Rick Springfield ends up on “King of the Hill.”

When I told Stu I was going to see Rick Springfield he asked where Rick was playing. I told him “Some bar called ‘Joe’s,” to which Stu replied “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” I told him that Rick sold out three shows and little did I know about Joe’s. After getting there I realized Rick hadn’t fallen at all.

Driving to Joe’s I recalled seeing Meat Loaf in a bar. It was small, cramped, I think Meat sweat on me, and as cool as it was to see him so up close and personal it was a little sad that he was stuck playing such a small place. I was getting close to Joe’s and those same feelings came back – it would be cool to see Rick Springfield in a bar, but he should really be playing larger venues. I walked into Joe’s, it seemed kinda small, more a restaurant than a bar, but no stage. Then I noticed people walking to another room. I followed. So much for a small bar as the place opened up into a large room with people already packed around a real stage. There was no photo pit, I was stuck on a stairway near the back, and my dreams of Rick sweating on me all but disappeared. Alright, the place is no United Center, but a bouncer-dude told me they sold around 1200 tickets per night, bodies, mostly of the dudette persuasion, were packed from front to back, and Rick put on an hour and a half show that had the dudettes screaming while their boyfriend dudes tried to be too cool for Rick Springfield even though I could see them singing along.

It’s 11:30 PM, an hour and a half later than the concert was listed, Rick came out, screams reminiscent of a Backstreet Boys concert filled the air, and suddenly I’m remembering things that I figured were long forgotten, things like the words to “I’ve Done Everything for You,” like the words to “Human Touch,” like the words to “Kristina,” and, well, you get the idea. And you know what, Rick rocked. Yea, that’s right, I said “Rick rocked.” I never knew.

Opening with “His Last Words” and “It’salwayssomething” from “Karma (with one of my new favoritist lyric lines in “Down one, home run, your dog steals the ball”), Rick, dressed in leather pants that looked like they were painted on, led the crowd through sing-a-longs, destroyed dozens of roses as he used them as guitar picks, hiked a guitar to a member of his crew, used cameras as guitar slides, and played lots of songs most people knew and a few songs from his new CD that some people knew. It was all good.

Highlights, there were many, and none of them for me revolved around “Jessie’s Girl.” Even though I like the song, it’s not my favorite (“Inside Sylvia” actually tops that list), but Rick showed that he can play with the best of them doing a great surf riff into, happily for me, “Inside Sylvia,” could turn forgetting lyrics into crowd pleasing, worked a stage like a master, and even tried to fill audience requests. He did it all and looked like he was having so much fun. That’s what it’s all about.

What else can I say about Rick Springfield except that the man puts on one hell of a show. The old songs sounded as fresh as when they were new, and the new songs show that Rick still has it, although you can tell he has grown a little in their messages. He led the crowd through “Free,” his latest single (which sounds to me like it belongs in a movie, in the scene where the dude and dudette realize they love each other and wind up in bed – it’s way romantic), had dudettes screaming at him like they were teenagers and he was 25, and showed that you don’t have to get any slower with age.

Some people seemed a little grumpy that Rick started late, and I was a little grumpy too, but that grumpiness went away once he hit the stage. He impressed me with his guitar work, had dudettes screaming at him, made me remember songs I had long forgotten, and showed to me that he is still mighty, has not fallen, and just plain knows how to rock. It’s TWO “STILL MIGHTY AND NOT FALLEN” THUMBS UP for Rick Springfield.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Brad Paisley – Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU

Rated: Not Rated
From: City Drive Films
Available on DVD, CD:  December 23, 2016 | Airing on PBS: January 27, 2017
Get it via : Amazon

Brad PaisleyIn the world of musicians I’d like to see in concert, but just haven’t made the time when they came through the Chicago area, Brad Paisley is one of those guys. I love a great guitarist, I love a guy who writes great songs, and I like seeing country girls at concerts. Brad Paisley has them all, and so does his latest live concert DVD/CD combo, “Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU.”

Filmed at, well, West Virginia University, in front of 15,000 folks, Brad Paisley does what he does best, entertain. It’s a DVD/CD filled with performances of his greatest hits, as well as a great rendition of the John Denver classic “Take Me Home Country Roads,” sort of the West Virginia anthem.

Continue reading Brad Paisley – Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU

Thanksgiving – Time for a Break or To Move On?

It’s Thanksgiving time as I’m writing this, and I have a lot to be thankful for, and as much as a time it is for giving thanks, it’s also a time for reflecting for me, especially about this place, Entertainment Ave!, which has been a part of my life in one form or another since about 1988, some 25 years ago.

This odyssey began as a little article in a college newspaper, Technology News, with my buddy and me looking to make some extra beer money. It was there that The Unknown Reviewers were born (Here’s a link to one of our first articles, found on Page 3), with me, The Dude on the Right, and him, The Dude on the Left, with bags on our heads and a PC with a hard drive topping out at 40Meg I think (Yup, you could fit a whopping 10 songs if they actually had digital downloads back then, but I digress), where we would wake up on a Friday morning with foggy heads and write about bands visiting our college bar the night before. As college years moved on some of the personas may have changed, but the bags remained the same, and The Dudes carried on.

Re-taking the reigns of The Unknown Reviewers in my never-ending college days, after being in an advisory role for a while, eventually The Dudes became digital, posting our reviews on our college website, and then, back in 1996, after finally ending college fun and pretending to grow up, Entertainment Ave! was born, with cheesy graphics, a cast of characters who mostly just wanted to have a goofy character, and the concert reviews grew from college bands to national acts, movie reviews were added, and through the years we’ve had an advice column, dabbled in animated movie reviews, held weekly podcasts, personal blogs, Daily Plights, and just some general commentary about the world.

I’ve always had big dreams for Entertainment Ave!, and although a lame excuse in the world of entrepreneurship, I generally let my day job and sometimes life in general, get in the way of trying to take this place to the next level, and over the past few months, with some other major changes taking place in my life, I’ve begun to wonder if this part of my life has also run its course. For over two years now I’ve been trying to get all of the pages updated to the newer format, a task I didn’t realize was so huge until I realized that, through the years, I’ve amassed over 750 various reviews and articles, and converting them has proven a much more daunting task then originally thought. I’ve also had a goal to get all of my concert photos updated to go along with the concert reviews, as well as get them posted for all of the world to see on my flickr site, and although a little easier than the page conversion, I haven’t gotten to the individual editing of them, either. Ugh!

“So, Dude, what are you trying to say. I’m getting tired of reading. Get to the point, already!”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for a while I’m going to be putting this part of my life, Entertainment Ave!, on hiatus, as I ponder its future. There might be a post every now and then, but for the most part I’m going to see if some kind of inspiration comes to re-envisioning the site, its goals, and if it can be a part of my life for the next 25 years. I might try to finish getting the old reviews converted, finish up with the concert photos, play around with some site re-designing, but as a one-man show, and a site this large, it’s been a tough task keeping up with the changes in technology, the changes in how people get their content (I never did get the Facebook nor Twitter connections fully integrated as I envisioned, nor the “Second Life” virtual site, and even though I’ve designed an iPhone app or two, this site has never gotten its own app much to my own disappointment). For the time being I’ll be leaving everything posted, because hey, someone might want to read about an AC/DC concert from 1991, or see if they should rent “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, but don’t count too much on finding out what I think about the latest Christmas movies, read about a bad film coming out on Blu-ray, or a plight about if Cher really did make the gayest video, ever, for her song “Take It Like a Man.”

If this does end up being my last post for this site, I would like to thank all of you for your support through the years, any comments you may have tossed my way, and the chance to share my entertainment world, and sometimes thoughts about life, with you. It’s been a lovely ride for over 25 years, and maybe its not over yet, but in any case it’s a time to re-assess, re-evaluate, and see if some reconditioning can bring a new chapter to the Entertainment Ave! life.

Maybe for the last time…

That’s it for this one! I’m Andrew Labis, I mean, The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


Date: November 9, 2000
Venue: The Metro
City: Chicago, IL
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

So you are a fan of “The Sopranos” and every week you hear the opening theme song, “Woke Up This Morning,” and say to yourself “Self, I wonder who does that song?” Maybe even one week you actually watch all of the credits to see if they say who does the song, but sadly, it isn’t listed.

You, however, are not as anal as I am, so you just let it go, as opposed to me who starts doing internet searches up the wazoo and finally finds that the song is by a band from across the pond called Alabama 3, for some legal reason called A3 here in the states, and then the challenge is to hit all of the local stores around me to find their CD because I can’t wait a couple of days for it if I order it over the internet.

I buy the CD for one song and find a band that has such a strange mix of influences that I can’t help but like this band.

With that it was with much anticipation that I made my way to The Metro in Chicago to catch a band with so much sound that I wondered how it would fit on the little Metro stage. It was a tight fit on the stage, but sadly not as tight a fit in the audience, and for a band that was able to draw two dudes all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana at this show, as well as one dude from overseas who says that A3 can fill a place five times the size of The Metro back home, it ended up being an intimate show for not too many people by a band that you could see was slightly disappointed in the audience showing, but still gave the show their all.

A3 opened with “Woke Up This Morning” and I, at first, was kinda worried. The crowd wasn’t that big in the first place so I figured that having heard the song they wanted to hear, well, the audience might begin to thin as the night went on, especially since it looked like most of the crowd didn’t really know any more of the band’s songs. But you know how I know A3 did their job? Because it didn’t seem like anybody left until the lights came on after “Sinking…”

Me, I knew a good majority of the songs because “Exile on Coldharbour Lane” had been on a high rotation in this dude’s CD playlist. They didn’t disappoint me with the likes of The First Minister of The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine, Dr. D. Wayne Love, leading the crowd through “Hypo Full of Love”, then a rousing “Mao Tse Tung Said”, and later “U Don’t Dans 2 Tekno Anymore” showed some of the country in this band’s mix of country, acid, house music with funky blues mixed in. But this hour and a half show also highlighted much of A3’s new material from “La Peste” which has quickly gone to the top of my “must get” list of CD’s. “Too Sick to Pray” hits that great mix of techno and blues that A3 does so well, a nice tribute to the country side with the Hank Williams cover in “Mansion on the Hill,” and at first I thought, as D. Wayne said “I wanna play one we didn’t write,” and the band went into John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”, and the crowd reacted so well, that “Speed…” should have been the show closer and not “Sinking…”, but as “Sinking…” wrapped up the show, well, it’s just as good a show closer.

Some other highlights included another new song “Wade Into the Water,” which they labeled as REO Speedwagon crossed with Merle Haggard (D. Wayne said he liked REO Speedwagon for their album covers), and I really liked “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife.”

A3 is a band that to me seems hard to market in the radio environment of today, at least here in the United States. You’ve got techno with your traditional looping and house beat. Then you’ve got some classic country mixed in, the inspirations of people like Merle Haggard and Hank Williams. Now add a touch of gospel. And finally take the inspiration of a bunch of blues greats. All together you get A3, a mix of sound that sadly won’t make the dance stations, is tough to add to the rock stations, is almost too alternative for alternative, and you couldn’t put the country sounding songs on a country station today if God said so. But A3 puts on a great live show and if you like “Woke Up This Morning” from “The Sopranos,” well, I highly recommend picking up their latest CD and trying to see them live. Who knows, maybe they’ll make it on the radio anyway.

Let’s wrap up my preaching and just say that A3 preaches just a little bit better than I do, especially this night at The Metro. The crowd stayed, had a good time through songs they didn’t seem to know, and when a band can do that, well, the band is doing their job. It’s TWO “I’m Converted!” THUMBS UP! for A3 and I really hope more people find them because I look forward to their return to Chicago.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


Date: May 23, 1999
Venue: The New World Music Theater
City: Tinley Park, IL
A Review by: The Dude on the Right

I really have only one complaint about attending the Aerosmith concert this kinda cool spring evening in May – it was too cool, as in cold weather. And because of that, well, to sound like a male pig, most of the dudettes wearing tight clothing had on coats. Damn. Anyway, enough ogling, about the show…

Aerosmith – what more needs to be said? Not much, but I’ll say some things anyway, like – it was great to see them cover some Rolling Stones, Joe Perry did a way-cool cover of “The Wanderer,” Steven Tyler missed the start of “Walk This Way” but made a fantastic recovery, and Steven Tyler tried to see down some dudettes pants that he brought on stage to dance with him. Ah, sometimes it’s good to be a rock star!

Opening with “Toys in the Attic,” the boys took the crowd through two hours of just about everything they could want to hear. You had your “Ragdoll,” you had your “Living on the Edge,” you had your “Pink,” and they even pulled “out some old shit” as Tyler called it, that I had no clue but seemed to be about the only one because the crowd sure followed along. And all along, even though the last stop on their current North American tour, the boys of the band know what they had to do to keep their fans happy, and they did that with the best of them.

Different from the last time I saw them, there were some changes in the song selection, not as many youngins (their love of “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” is over), and Tyler’s knee brace was gone. But, similar to the last time I saw them, the opening of the show was the same with the curtains and shadows, the pyrotechnics going off, the rotating drum kit, and Steven Tyler shoving his face in the video camera, pelvic thrusting just about everything, and singing his ass off. And you know, that’s about all the crowd could ask for, a band that rocks, and Aerosmith is that band.

There were lots of extended guitar jams, Steven Tyler utilized every inch of the stage, some of the lyrics got changed a little (i.e. “all those late night promises, I guess they don’t mean shit”) and yes, they did play “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” after Tyler instructed the audience “If you love somebody, turn around and give them a big kiss,” which made me kind of weepy, there all alone, and I don’t think the boyfriend of the girl behind me would have appreciated my advances on his girl. So, I just sang along.

Anyway, the show rocked, and that’s all I really wanted, and that’s all the crowd really wanted, and that means “TWO ROCKIN’ THUMBS UP!!!” It’s Aerosmith dammit, and if I didn’t give them a good review the dude sitting next to me who asked what paper I was with and if I liked the band would probably hunt me down and kick my ass (he was a pretty big dude).

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right!!! L8R!!


Date: February, 1991
Venue: The Rosemont Horizon
City: Rosemont, IL
A Review by: The Dude on the Right & The Dude on the Left

The Dude on the Right

Well, it’s finally happened – Bog nights have returned. Finally, instead of having to traipse far and wide to hear a live band, we get to experience the music right here on the safety of our own campus. Last week brought the return of Rude Mood, a Stevie Ray/ZZ Top/George Thorogood type of band.

The mood of the evening was like it always seems to be for the first Bog night, that being everybody just wanting to hang around, renew old friendships, and find our what every one else did over their break. Not really the best audience for a band, but Rude Mood did an O.K. job of entertaining the crowd. Starting the evening in the same manner as their last appearance, “I Drink Alone” by Lonesome George got the show on its feet. The show steadily turned into a lets start this song, throw in an extended guitar solo, and then go back and finish the song. It got a little tedious and just a little boring after a while. Not saying the guitar solos were bad or anything, but it seems like the musical talent could be shown a little better by throwing a few more songs into their set list and laying off the guitar solos a bit.

Well, to rap this up, I’m going to give Rude Mood ONE THUMB UP! Not the greatest start for the semester, but and OK start. It’s not that I didn’t like them, it was just that the show tended to drag on a bit. Oh well!

Once again, the Unknown Reviewers took the streets, and this time our travels took us to the wonderful acoustics of the Rosemont Horizon. The event – AC/DC. Angus and the boys showed up in full force, at full volume, and to such an extent that the echo off the back wall didn’t even make a difference. The evening began with us taking our seats in the Front Row, being told by the big, burly security dudes that we could jump up and down all we wanted, but if we even thought of moving toward the stage, immense quantities of pain would be inflicted upon us, and then we would be thrown out. I guess these guys meant business, seeing as they threw out some guy in the third row no more than two words into the first screaming words of Brian Johnson. Needless to say, we stayed in our respective places. The show highlighted much of AC/DC’s career, spanning the hits like Hell’s Bells, Back in Black, Highway to Hell, and current hits like Thunderstruck and Money Talks. It was obvious who the leader of the show was, with Angus running up ramps to platforms over two ominous gun turrets, and even retreating to a rising platform situated about fifty rows back of us, throwing in the guitar solos as only he can do so well. The show ended with a rousing version of For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), in which the gun turrets brought a deafening roar to the Horizon. All in all, it was a great show, and finally I was able to say “I must be in the Front Row!” I’m going to give AC/DC TWO THUMBS UP!!!!! Yep, there back.

That’s it for this dude’s edition of Reviews, but…… there was one main problem with the Bog show last Thursday, and that has to do with the wonderful Bog light show. I know the wheels are in motion for some new lights, but with the wonderful new addition, I wonder how hard it would be to at move the old lights to where the new stage is. It was a shame Rude Mood had to start with the only lighting being from the moving of light bulbs in the ceiling, and then to no lights when this turned out to be too bright. It’s kinda really hard to get into the feeling of a band when you really can’t see them. Hopefully, this situation will be resolved soon! B.B.M. N.M.B. And , as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!!

The Dude on the Left

Ahhh, now that’s MUCH more like it. I was beginning to miss those wonderful Friday morning headaches, the dry mouth, the painful lectures! Good thing that the bands are back in the Bog so that my petty little needs can be satisfied. Seriously, the Bog bands are finally back and not a second too soon. The First week? Rude Mood. The Music? A combination of ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. they started out with a rousing rendition of I Drink Alone by George Thorogood and like my partner said, one guitar solo after another. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great guitar solo as much as the next guy, but if I want to see a billion and one guitar solos, at least they could be a little different. How bout adding a slide? So acoustic? SOMETHING???? They played their usual bog type songs that always get good reactions. “Cheap Sunglasses” the quintessential ZZ Top song, and some Stevie Ray, more Stevie Ray, and even more music that sounded like Stevie Ray rounded out the First Set.

The second set opened with a decent rendition of Foxy Lady, followed by Lagrange by ZZ Top. they played some bluesy jam followed by some More Stevie then some Lonesome George. I was kinda disappointed to learn that they don’t know any Steve Miller. How can any band not know ANY Steve Miller? The third set was one straight from the Rude Mood formula… Some Hendrix, some Stevie, and for good measure “Moby Dick” by Led Zep (to highlight the drummer instead of the guitar I guess). The closing song was “Roadhouse Blues” by the Lizard King and the Boys (the Doors).

All in all, it was a pretty decent evening, and if you don’t count the light show and having to walk a zillion miles to relieve myself.. I had a pretty good time. I think I’ll give the bogs first band of the semester hmmm…. ONE THUMB UP!! This gives ’em TWO BIG MOMBO THUMBS UP!! Not bad guys.. Learn “the Joker” by Steve Miller.. and you’ll be set!

Yes, and once again we hit the road to bring the best and the brightest new stars to you, our dedicated readers so that you’ll not be ignorant of things that happen off this wonderful campus. Last Friday, we found ourselves at the beautiful Rosemont Horizon in the Front Row. AC/DC was the band and loud was the volume. I won’t really bore you with the gory details, like my partner did, but I’d like to say that the Front Row is THE place to be. Even if my UNGRATEFUL partner said we were too close… “We didn’t get any money” (ala the video), “We didn’t get crushed against the stage…” and other such complaints were all that I heard for the next few days… Well THPPPPPPPPT! !! It really was a great show thought. I was deaf for a coupla days. And I even though I felt some of Angus’ drool hit me as he flailed about! What a great night. I hate to sound repetitive, but I’ll give AC/DC TWO HUGE THUMBS UP! (They’re professionals what do you expect … less that FOUR THUMBS UP???)

And as a special treat for all you folks that think we’re a coupla beer swilling, uncultured boobs… well THPPPPPT! to you too. This week I hit the road on my own… To the Auditorium Theatre to see Phantom of the Opera. It’s about this guy whos face looks like someone smashed him with a frying pan so he wears this mask (just like Jason is Friday the 13th). Well, he falls in love with this chick that sings in the opera. Now, she thinks he’s butt ugly, but is fascinated by his music. So, he tries to arrange it so that she can sing the lead in this Opera (there’s even a fat chick singing soprano!). Well, she doesn’t , so he drops a chandelier on her head (he missed, otherwise it would have been a short musical). He finally writes an opera for her.. they perform it… he kidnaps her… takes her to the tunnels under the city(just like where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live). Her dude comes to rescue her.. the Phantom puts a noose around his neck.. She screams, cries, begs… and he gives in. He gets all sad at being rejected and disappears. The End.

Well, that brings to the end another fabulous week of fun and culture brought to you by the gracious people at Miller and Tech News. Tune in next week for another exciting episode of the Unknown Reviewers.. and be sure to check out Dear Dudes, our cool advice column. So until next week, C.U.Next Thursday so we can pack the bog to the walls.